Sisters Assaulted in Parking Garage obtain $1.79 Verdict

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Helen Jones
Executive Vice President 

In November 2007, Samantha, Helen, and Selene Rankin, then aged 26, 24 and 20, went into a parking garage after being out late at night on Ocean Drive in South Beach owned by Ocean Blvd II LLC. In the elevator of the garage, the sisters encountered five strangers, one of whom was a female that accused Samantha of flirting with a male in the group. Samantha gave the clique the middle finger as she exited the elevator, which prompted the group to pull her back into the elevator by her hair, and repeatedly punch and kick her. Despite Helen and Selene Rankin trying to come to their sister’s aid, the group beat all three of them unconscious. When an observer rushed to help the sisters, the assailants fled down the stairwell with Helen’s purse. The attackers were never apprehended.

As a result of the accident, Samantha, an army veteran, suffered from insomnia and depression. She also sustained a broken bone in her hand and had three knocked out teeth. Selene suffered a lumbar herniation, then became addicted to her prescription pain medication. While in rehab for her addiction, Selene developed multiple personality disorder, which doctors attributed to post-traumatic stress disorder. The youngest sister, Helen Rankin, had a broken nose and ankle from the attack, as well as sprained her neck.

The sisters filed suit against the owner of the parking garage, Ocean Blvd II LLC, and the day-to-day manager of the garage, Park One of Florida LLC. Plaintiffs argued that there had been 31 separate criminal incidents in the garage in the 22 months leading up to the assault, and therefore, the defendants should have been on notice to increase security. The cameras in the elevators were not activated and there were no security guards posted inside.

Ocean Blvd settled with the plaintiffs prior to trial for $150,000. At trial, the sisters were awarded $1.79 million in damages against Park One.

The case is: Samantha Rankin et al v. Park One of Florida LLC, Case No. 10-62143-CA-20

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